Family Relationships Quarterly No. 16

AFRC Newsletter No. 16 – June 2010

Literature highlights


The following are a selection of resources available from the Australian Institute of Family Studies library collection. Print resources are available via the inter-library loan system. Contact your local library for details of this system. Web addresses are included for electronic resources.

Compiled by Carole Jean, Librarian

Supervising family and parenting workers: A short guide. (2008). Rhodes, H. London: Family & Parenting Institute

This guide is for new and experienced managers. Effective work with parents and families only flourishes when those undertaking it are looked after well, and good supervision is one of the best ways of achieving this. This guide covers key supervision techniques including: safe and excellent practice, planning, the challenging elements of parenting work, understanding agency roles and responsibilities, difficult circumstances, contracts, and resolving problems.

Confronting anxiety in couple and family therapy supervision: A developmental supervisory model based on attachment theory. (2009). Hill, W. E. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 30(1), 1-14.

Referencing relevant supervisory literature and attachment theory, this article presents a developmental couple and family therapy supervisory model that emphasises the efficacy of the supervisory relationship. Issues concerning anxiety, cognition and learning theory are addressed and phases in the supervisory process are identified and described. Cognitive, emotional and social development are linked to attachment theory and discussed in the supervisory context.

Families, culture and supervision. (2008). Connolly, M.,Crichton-Hill, Y., & Ward, T. Social Work Now, 40, 25-33.

Proactively considering cultural components in practice provides an opportunity to develop a complex understanding of how culture and diversity influence relationship dynamics. When working across cultural groups, much depends on how the social worker presents to the family and whether the family believes that it is being understood. Cultural misinterpretation can confound practice, and barriers can make cultural signposts difficult to interpret. In these situations, supervision in child protection practice can offer alternate strategies and provide alternative explanations and interventions. This paper examines the diversity and patterns of communication in families. It explores cultural components of practice and some of the ways in which supervision can help workers navigate across cultural landscapes, including enhancing work with families (responsibility relationships, interpersonal relationships, risk management, practice enhancing techniques), and exploration of culture and practice in supervision (exploring the nature of difference and power, the importance of connectedness, and understanding meaning).

From mindless to mindful practice: On learning reflection in supervision. (2009). Carroll, M. Psychotherapy in Australia, 15(4), 38-49.

While there is much literature and research on reflection and reflective practice, there is relatively little to help individuals and small groups learn how to be reflective. Too much depends on reflection for it to be left to chance or the hope that it might be picked up during the journey of life. Rather, it seems wiser to teach or facilitate how to reflect, so that individuals and groups can be assured of having such a precious commodity. Michael Carroll describes what reflective learning means and considers the elements that support and block being reflective. A model of reflection is offered to help trainers to teach practitioners reflection and, in particular, how to use reflection in supervision. Suggestions are offered on how we can help others, in this case supervisees, learn how to be more reflective.

Managing stress or enhancing wellbeing? Positive psychology's contributions to clinical supervision. (2008). Howard, F. Australian Psychologist, 43(2), 105-113.

One of the key functions of clinical supervision as practised by health professionals such as psychologists includes the restoration of wellbeing, but there are few guidelines in the supervision literature on how to go about this. Research into concepts from the field of positive psychology such as work engagement, sense of coherence, self-efficacy, flow and resilience has begun to provide detailed understanding of workers' happiness, health and betterment. These findings provide possible directions for supervision interventions that go beyond traditional review of self-care and stress-management strategies and seek to extend the wellbeing of the supervisee. This article explores the application of positive psychology to enhance the wellbeing of practitioners such as psychologists, who often work in inherently difficult work environments such as the mental health field. Specifically, a narrative approach is proposed as one possible method and practical examples are offered to demonstrate how positive psychology may be applied in the practice of clinical supervision.

One more time: What is supervision? (2007). Carroll, M. Psychotherapy in Australia, 13(3), 34-40.

What does clinical supervision offer contemporary professional life? The author reviews the changing meanings of supervision over time, tracing its history from the late 19th century through its travels and adaptations in different countries and professions. Scharmer's work is used to suggest that supervision is being challenged to provide a new modern service - creating the emerging professional future. Ways to understand what that means are explored and suggestions are given for how we can begin to create a framework for this kind of supervision.

Professional supervision and the development of working knowledge. (2008). Apte, J. Developing Practice, 21, 34-42.

The concept of working knowledge in the context of workplace learning is explored in relation to the developmental function of professional supervision. The functions of professional supervision are outlined and barriers to their implementation discussed. The paper emphasises the importance of skilled and confident supervisors, who can assist new workers or those who have settled into a habitual comfort zone by using a range of adaptive approaches to engage workers with practice challenges.

Rethinking supervision and shaping future practice. (2008). Field, J. Social Work Now, 40, 11-18.

Effective social work responses to children, young people and their families rely on respectful, competent practice. Supervision enhances the social worker-client relationship by strengthening social work practice and ensuring robust decision making. Supervisory leadership is critical to safe practice in child welfare systems, and the competing demands of casework complexity, fiscal restraint, workload issues and shifting ideologies can present challenges to supervisors, who must balance the needs of families, workers and the organisation. This article explores the current shape of supervision and questions its future. It also reviews the literature regarding supervision practice, and describes the introduction of the group consult supervision model into frontline child welfare practice in New Zealand. It argues that contemporary child and family welfare practice requires new ways of responding to supervision within care and protection and youth justice contexts, and presents a case for considering supervision differently in the statutory context.

Social work supervision: Contexts and concepts. (2005). Tsui, M. Thousand Oaks, C.A.: SAGE Publications.

This book outlines the basic theories, research, and practice of supervision. It addresses the needs of social work supervisors, frontline practitioners, students, and educators. It also contains a comprehensive literature review of the historical development, theories and models, and empirical research studies of supervision.

Supervision and transformational learning. (2008). Carroll, M. Psychotherapy in Australia, 14(3), 38-45.

If supervision is an intervention to help supervisees learn, it is important to know what kind of learning is needed, and what supervisors and supervisees can do to facilitate that learning. What sort of learning does supervision support and facilitate? Is all learning of the same type or level? A review of the supervision literature indicates little concern with the learning aspect of supervision. Most supervision is based on unconscious models of learning that have not been articulated and are rarely questioned. This lack of clarity about what "kind of learning" is being facilitated within supervision suggests that supervisors are haphazard in the methodologies adopted to encourage that same learning. The author reviews the historical concepts of learning that have underpinned supervision in the past, as well as some modern influences on learning. A model of transformational learning suitable to contemporary supervision is presented.

Supervision in the helping professions. (3rd ed.). (2006). Hawkins, P., & Shohet, R. Maidenhead, England: McGraw Hill/Open University Press.

This edition examines developments in the field in the past two decades ,and includes updates on supervision maps and models, supervising groups, working with refugees and asylum seekers, adapting supervision to suit different learning styles, and offers a process model to aid understanding of how supervision sessions "work".